A lifetime of failed relationships. One huge risk. One sexy dominating man. What could go wrong?
Based on true events, after a lifetime of frogs, Tilly sets out to find her own Prince Charming. But there’s a catch. She wants her Prince Charming to be the ultimate dominating man.
Not sure if this is possible, she follows her best friends’ advice and ditches conventional dating sites for a steamy sex dating website. However, Tilly quickly realises reality is not like the fairy tales. As she battles with her inner feminist will she ever get used to his rules? And more importantly, what is he hiding?
I had an eighty percent chance of being murdered. My mum would have a heart attack if she knew. I was acutely aware of how risky my plan was. I’d called Amelia yesterday to warn her. She’d sounded calm on the phone, if a little proud. We’d agreed she’d raise the alarm if she’d not heard from me by nine a.m. tomorrow.
Before I could start imagining my funeral, my phone vibrated in my hand: Are you on time? You may answer yes or no.
I closed my eyes briefly and stopped walking. A crowd of people spilling out of the Underground behind me, propelled me forwards so I came to the side out of the way. I needed a moment. I put my hand on the cold metal railings overlooking the park. It was rare to get such a lush expanse of green in the city. That was the beauty of London, though. It was an amazing city. I loved visiting. Before I could overthink anything, I texted back, Yes.
My phone vibrated instantly, Is your heart beating quicker? I smiled. He was so theatrical. This was totally different to normal dating. It felt like we were in a film. It didn’t take a lot though. I’d always found it easy to suspend my disbelief. I’d got it from Mum. She’d gasped so loudly in the cinema during The Lord of The Rings that people had turned to look. And to my embarrassment, she’d even shouted words of encouragement to Harry Potter during The Goblet of Fire.
I replied, Yes. It was a blunt response but he liked it that way. The deal was no initiation of conversation or long-winded replies. Basically, I couldn’t text him first and when he asked a question I had to answer with yes or no. He had a lot of rules.
I started walking again but stopped to look up at the sun shining through the thick canopy of trees above me. It was a gorgeous day: cold but a bright blue sky and lots of sun. Why was I being so serious about this meeting? It was entirely my choice. I’d visualised it for months, dreamed about it for years and masturbated myself to sleep thinking about it. So, why the fear? I was about to walk into my very own sweet shop. I wasn’t on death row.
I checked my phone. I had another message: You will check in first, as you want to get ready.
Yes, I replied. Do you know where to go? I rolled my eyes and texted, Yes. Of course I knew where to go. How old was he? That’s why phones existed. I’d already checked the hotel’s location this morning. It was exactly two minutes from the Underground. I typed the postcode of the hotel into the map app, just to be sure, and followed the directions out of the park and across the main road.
One minute later, I stood in front of The World’s Tallest Hotel. Ivy clambered all the way up it. I looked down at my old blue suitcase and leggings. I was massively under-dressed. There was no point backing out now, though. It was now or never.
As I pushed open the heavy glass doors, a man waiting inside in a top hat and tails bowed deeply.
“Ma’am.” I startled, looking behind me. “Ma’am?”
He meant me. I didn’t realise they welcomed everyone so nicely. I wasn’t rich or a celebrity. “Hello, thank you.” I whispered, wishing my Yorkshire accent wasn’t so strong. “I’d like to check in please.” “Yes, just this way, ma’am.” I carried my suitcase in my arms so it wouldn’t damage the shiny marble floor and followed behind the man to reception. He motioned for me to sit at a large desk. I put my suitcase down carefully on the floor and nudged my plastic bag behind it. I looked down at my trainers. I was bringing the hotel down a whole star.
“Ma’am?” He was waiting. I’d missed something. “Yes?” My cheeks flushed. “The booking name please.” I paused. I’d never said my date’s name out loud before. A rising look of suspicion in Hotel Man’s eyes told me he was considering throwing me out. Perhaps, he thought I’d stolen the identity of the richest man in London and was attempting to check in. Or maybe, he thought I was a prostitute. That was more likely.
I spoke as slowly and as confidently as I could. He raised his eyebrows. His pause was everything—I must have pronounced the name wrong.
“We’ve upgraded you.”
“To a town-house residence.”
About the author
Matilda Swinney is a freelance writer, author and mother.
Her novelette, The Texts Before We Met, is the prequel to her debut novel, The Girl Who Jumped (10 May 2022).
The series is based on a true story.